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Opinion Roundup: Senate health care bill puts N.C. patients in the crosshairs

Posted June 28

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the local issues surrounding the Senate's health care bill, the contentious plan to redraw N.C.'s judicial maps, a setback for state renewable energy projects and more.

PHILIP BUMP: N.C.’s 12 District will be nation’s health insurance loser under the Senate bill (Washington Post analysis) -- When the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment was released it estimated 22 million more people would be uninsured in 2026 than if Obamacare were left in place. The Center for American Progress used that figure to estimate the drop in the number of insured in each congressional district. Per its calculations, the district that would be most negatively affected should the Senate bill become law is North Carolina’s 12th District, where almost 118,000 fewer people would have coverage by 2026 — nearly 1 in 5 residents.


The Health Care Hoax Has Been Exposed (New York Times) -- It will be interesting to hear what the voters have to say during the July 4 break. Some states that would be most deeply hurt by the bill are represented by Republicans who back it. Looking at you, Richard Burr of North Carolina; Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania; and Mr. Cornyn, the majority whip hellbent on forcing a vote this week.


If Thom Tillis made $40k a year, what would he think of the Republican health plan? (Charlotte Observer) -- His premiums would skyrocket, but Republicans are willing to accept BRCA’s impact on many Americans.


N.C. cancer patients’ lives are at stake if Senate doesn’t act this week (Charlotte Observer column) -- Cancer patients increasingly need to take pills instead of IV treatments. But North Carolina lets insurers charge far more for those therapies.


RICHARD HASEN: Supreme Court is in no hurry to protect voters from gerrymandering (Washington Post column) -- When it comes to assuring fair elections, the Supreme Court has a new message: Voters can wait.


SUSAN LADD: A gerrymandered judiciary is GOP's next goal (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Even as members of Common Cause NC and the League of Women Voters held a press conference to call for an end to gerrymandering, the N.C. General Assembly was working to extend its increasingly sophisticated method of vote-rigging to the judiciary.


JEFF TIBERII: NC Lawmakers Table Plan To Redraw Judicial Boundaries (WUNC-FM Analysis) -- Lawmakers have tabled a plan at the General Assembly to redraw judicial boundaries. The policy about-face followed a day of contentious debate and halts a measure that had initially appeared fast-tracked at the legislature, possibly destined for legal challenges


Kill the gerrymander (Greensboro News & Record) -- It’s time to send the gerrymander into extinction. The Supreme Court can administer a mercy killing with the right decision in a Wisconsin redistricting case. North Carolina voters will be watching.


JOHN DOWNEY: N.C. Senate amendments to solar bill raise objections from Duke Energy, sustainability advocates alike (Charlotte Business Journal column) -- Amendments to the solar reform bill before the General Assembly would reduce the Carolinas' commitment to new solar construction and impose a three-year moratorium on N.C. wind projects. Those changes and others adopted by the Senate Finance Committee in a late-evening session seriously undermine the renewable energy features of the “Competitive Energy Solutions for NC” act.


JOHN DOWNEY: Duke Energy, N.C. Attorney General reach agreement on disputed coal-ash information requests (Charlotte Business Journal column) -- Duke Energy Progress has withdrawn its objections to requests for more information about its coal-ash policies and procedures in connection with the utility’s proposed rate hike.


GenX discharge appears to be stopped; questions just beginning (Wilmington Star-News) -- Questions surrounding the presence of the unregulated chemical compound GenX in the Cape Fear River and drinking water of possibly a quarter million people continue to mount. One big one, however -- “Is the Chemours Co. still discharging GenX into the Cape Fear River?” -- was answered Tuesday.


PATRICK GILBERT: After the 2016 disaster, a search for revival (Outer Banks Sentinel analysis) -- After losing a longstanding majority on the Dare Board of Commissioners in 2014, the Dare County Democratic Party thought it had put together a strong group of candidates for the 2016 campaign.


A state budget built by a hammer (Fayetteville Observer) -- Watching what passes for state government in North Carolina these days can be discouraging. This week, it’s downright disheartening. We’re watching a choreographed performance in Raleigh, with a certain outcome. We’re watching a General Assembly whose leaders wield power like a hammer, driving intensely political nails.


STEPHANIE CARSON: Scrap the Clean Water Rule? Not Much Time for Public Comment (Public News Service column) -- The Environmental Protection Agency plans a second effort in the coming months to limit the waterways protected under the larger Clean Water Act. John Rumpler, clean-water program director for Environment North Carolina, said the way the Clean Water Rule repeal was introduced in the U.S. House means it won't go through the typical comment and review periods. He said citizens should be on alert.


Arts = money (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Yes, we know. We’ve been telling you. And now a new study confirms, as if it’s needed, that the arts, an inextricable part of Winston-Salem’s identity, are big business. Spending on arts and culture in Forsyth County is up $20 million since 2010, according to the study by Americans for the Arts. That generates jobs and tax revenue.


ALLISON BALLARD: Officials Dedicate First NC Heritage Dive Site (Coastal Review column) -- The Department of Cultural and Natural Resources recently dedicated the states first Heritage Dive Site, the wreck of a Civil War blockade runner off Kure Beach, and more are planned.


Former Lost Colony producer dies in Chapel Hill (Outer Banks Sentinel column) -- Mark Sumner, for 25 years the de facto leader of the American outdoor historical drama movement, died on June 20 after an extended illness in Chapel Hill. From 1964 until 1989, Sumner served as the Director of the Institute of Outdoor Drama.


RICK SMITH: Duke prof on iPhone past, future: 'It's changed how we interact with the world' (WRAL-TV TechWire column) -- It's hard to believe that iPhones and the smartphone revolution began a decade ago. Duke Professor Debu Purohit, who teaches marketing technology, talked then about the launch on June 29, 2007, and talks now about the changes iPhones continue to trigger.


STEVE BOUSER: Peach Growers Still Coping With a Weather Whammy (Southern Pines Pilot column) -- For us peach lovers (and peach jam canners) in this part of the country, alas, the 2017 crop is destined to be — well, the pits. At least for some growers. And some varieties.

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